May 5th, 2020 — Fellow Virgin Islanders, residents and friends of the Virgin Islands. As I have previously reported, on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus a global public health emergency; due to its rapid spread, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
No region of the world has been spared and countries large and small continue to grapple with the health, social and economic disruption caused by this deadly virus.
As a Territory, region and global community we have been united by this glaring reminder of our common humanity, and moved with compassion and solidarity to observe far reaching precautionary measures to protect ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors from this unseen enemy.
The World Health Organization now records Three million, four hundred and seven thousand, seven hundred and forty-seven (3,407,747) confirmed cases, which has resulted in Two hundred and thirty eight thousand, one hundred and ninety eight (238,198) deaths.
On a brighter note, an estimated one million one hundred and sixty one thousand, six hundred and seventy seven (1,161,677) persons have been reported as recovered from the virus.
Meanwhile, closer to home, in the Caribbean, a total of 13,693 cases have been confirmed as positive and has resulted in 634 deaths. Again, on the brighter side 3,886 cases have been reported as recovered from COVID-19.
Special attention is given to the high level of confirmed cases that remains active throughout the region. I have stated before and I will state again, “ No island nation can be safe until each of our Territories are deemed COVID-19 free. I will say again say that we have a duty to look out for each one of us.
Over the course of the past week, as per the protocol established, twenty-one (21) samples from the British Virgin Islands were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad for testing and confirmation.
I am reporting that while 20 of the samples were tested as NEGATIVE there exist ONE of the samples that was confirmed as positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
These findings were consistent with local lab results, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the Territory to seven (7) with three confirmed recoveries, three (3) active cases and one life lost to the disease.
Case #7 is linked to a previously detected case; was quarantined and had tested negative on the first protocol of testing. It is common that in the early stages of infection the virus that causes COVID-19 could go undetected. In this regard the person was kept under quarantine for the full duration of the incubation period, and was re-tested in accordance with established protocols. This patient has exhibited ONLY mild symptoms and will be kept in isolation.
So in summary we now have a total of 132 persons that were tested, with 125 deemed negative, 7 deemed positive, 3 cases recovered, 3 active cases and there remains 13 persons currently in quarantine. We extend our collective compassion and prayers for a full and rapid recovery of all active cases. It is safe to say that the Ministry of Health’s case finding, contact tracing, monitoring and quarantine efforts are achieving the intended result of reducing your risk of exposure to active cases of COVID-19.
These efforts have been aided tremendously by your compliance with the curfew, social distancing, hygiene and sanitization measures implemented over the past weeks. By doing our part each of us continue to assist in interrupting the transmission of the virus. As the phased internal re-opening of the Territory continues to be rolled out and as we prepare to reopen our borders, it is more important than ever for all of us to continue to do our part to keep the risk of transmission of the virus to a minimum.
The health and well-being of the people of the Virgin Islands remains our number one priority. We will continue our efforts and strive to mitigate the negative social and economic impacts of this pandemic. This novel coronavirus can only be countered with a Novel Social and Economic Programme that would be articulated by our Premier.
It cannot be said often enough that your personal safety, as well as the protection of your family, co-workers, customers, frontline workers, neighbours and friends of all ages, heavily depend on the actions you take every day to adhere to the various Public Health guidelines.
Remember to sneeze or cough into disposable tissues, continue to ensure physical distancing wherever possible, washing hands, sanitising surfaces, and wearing of face masks especially in cramped and indoor spaces where physical distancing may be compromised, all work in combination to safeguard us from viral respiratory diseases such as COVID-19.
Persons exhibiting any symptoms fever, cough, headache, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle aches, or difficulty breathing are reminded and encouraged to call the Health Hotline at 852-7650.
We must all remember that working together to prevent, detect and contain the spread of this coronavirus is our very best chance of stamping it out. As a Government, no expenses have been spared in preparing the facilities and in purchasing the equipment and the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required to fight COVID-19.
The truth remains however that “we will only have all of the equipment and facilities required in the fight against COVID-19, if we need none of the COVID-19 equipment and facilities that we have. I continue to believe in all of us to keep each other safe and healthy as we live and work in this New Regular of COVID-19.
Once again, I Thank you, and may God continue to bless our people and the beloved British Virgin Islands.